The 1937 Salisbury Indians
In 1937, the newly appointed President of the Eastern Shore League, Tom Kibler, was determined to start enforcing the rules of minor league baseball. The Salisbury Indians were unfortunate to be the team he used to set this precedent.
On June 19, 1937, the Salisbury Indians had a 21-5 record. One of the team’s players had signed a contract four years earlier but had never played. However, the league ruled that he qualified as an “experienced” player, which meant Salisbury was violating the rule that a team could not have more than three experienced players. The Indians were forced to forfeit their wins and their record was reset to 0-26.
Team manager for the Indians D’Arcy “Jake” Flowers had returned to Cambridge after several years of playing in the major leagues. He had also previously played at Washington College under Kibler. While upset by the ruling, Flowers respected his former coach, so he graciously accepted the penalty but vowed that his team would capture the pennant.
In one of the most amazing comeback stories in baseball, Flowers led his team to victory, as they went on to win 48 of their next 58 games and capture the championship. Flowers was named “Minor-League Manager of the Year” by The Sporting News, and the official website of minor league baseball ranks the 1937 Salisbury Indians number eight on its list of the all-time top 100 teams.